The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken suo-motu action after concerns were raised by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on “intimidation and harassment of journalists” in Jammu and Kashmir. The PCI has constituted a three-member Fact Finding Committee to visit and investigate allegations of intimidation and harassment of journalists in the Union Territory.
Mehbooba Mufti had written to both the Press Council of India (PCI) and Editors Guild of India (EGI) on the “intimidation, snooping and harassment of journalists in J&K” and had alleged “that reporting truth to power is being criminalized in J&K.” She had asked the media bodies to send a fact-finding team to the region to investigate.
The veteran politician had reportedly alleged that the “harassment and intimidation of journalists has taken place after revocation of Articles 370 and 35A and bifurcation of J&K state into two Union Territories by centre on August 5, 2019.” After the probe by a fact finding committee was announces she posted the statement on social media and hope that “the local administration ensures their full cooperation so that this committee can discharge its duty.”
Thankful to the @PressCouncil_IN for their decision to constitute a fact finding committee to probe about journalists being harassed in J&K. Hope the local administration ensures their full co-operation so that this committee can discharge its duty. pic.twitter.com/gYiqXlCbJL
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) September 29, 2021
According to reports, the Fact Finding Committee includes Prakash Dubey, Convenor and Group Editor Dainik Bhaskar, Gurbir Singh of The New Indian Express and Dr Suman Gupta of Jan Morcha, who will also regulate the fact finding procedure. The PCI also urged the J&K government to extend its cooperation and assistance to the Fact Finding Committee for the discharge of its function, saying, “The Fact Finding Committee is required to make a thorough probe into the matter holding discussion with the concerned authorities and the affected journalists and collect such information as it deems fit to submit its report to the Council at the earliest.”